HeadStart’s Sports Academies are designed for our top sports performers and school representative athletes from the age of 10 years old and up. We currently have two sports academies, one for swimming and one for football. Academies run from 4:30-6:00 pm daily and occasionally on Saturday mornings. This development pathway creates further opportunities for children to develop skills in our core sports and in turn ensure our competitive school teams develop and are successful. We have professional Head Coaches for each Academy backed up by a very experienced coaching staff in both sports.

Academy Calendar 2019 2020 1
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Zak Brown

Head Swim Coach
[email protected]

My name is Zak Brown. I’m from Bakersfield, California and started swimming at the age of 10. During High School, I helped lead our team to becoming league champions 4 years in a row. After High School, I attended Bakersfield College and continued swimming for Bakersfield Swim Club. During this time, I competed all over California as well as traveling to other states for national level competitions. After 2 years of junior college; I moved to Niagara Falls, New York and competed at Niagara University as a Division One Swimmer. During my stay at Niagara University, I was able to set three school relay records and I received a degree in marketing and logistics. I've enjoyed coaching swimming for over 9 years and have worked with athletes on all levels from beginners to Olympians. I feel very fortunate that swimming has given me the opportunity to meet incredible people from all over the world. Swimming is more than just a sport to me, it's become a lifestyle. The lessons learned through swimming stay with you your entire life. This is my second year with the HeadStart and I am really excited to work with the students to further develop their swimming abilities. Last season our Aqua Panthers hit best times and won the league championships. We have a lot of momentum building into this year and I am excited to lead the team into new heights!

Swimming Academy

The HeadStart Swim Academy pushes each student-athlete to strive both in the classroom and the pool. Our training schedule offers 10 practices per week so our students can maximize their study time and continue with their development in the water. Each session for the Aqua Panthers offers technique work, endurance building, and race strategy. Our goal is to help each athlete develop focus, determination, time management, self-discipline, and a strong work ethic.

All swimming competitions and events will be announced in the weekly updates, emailed to parents and are recorded in the calendar.

Team Records can be found here


Taking part in competitive competitions is an exciting and challenging opportunity for the students and an important part of their development as swimmers. Each year, members of our team take part in various International competitions such as the Malaysia Invitational Age Group Championships and Neo Garden Singapore Nationals. Additionally, they take part in National competitions in Phuket and Bangkok.

Our annual fundraiser is always an exciting event and succeeds in raising money for local charities. Last year our swimmers swam in relay continually for 12 hours through the night! Not only did we raise 140,000 Baht for charity, but many of our swimmers improved their best times! What commitment!


The Aqua Panthers program develops students into skilled, focused and hardworking athletes; students improve their swimming abilities, as well as growing in personal confidence and resilience. Our program works on all aspects of swimming and life; from technique, speed and endurance to time management, self-discipline and work ethic. The Aqua Panthers program offers three different levels that focus on students’ specific needs.

Bronze Bronze swimmers are our joy. Perfecting technique is the main focus in this group. Drills, Drills, and More Drills! Technique is the foundation of a future competitive swimming career.
Silver Silver swimmers have developed their technique and some speed. Improving strength & endurance is therefore the main focus in this group. This prepares them to gain speed and join our Gold squad.
Gold Gold swimmers are our most advanced group. Swimmers in this group have technique, speed, strength, and endurance. Improving speed and competitive skills is the main focus in this group.
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Asa Sanderson

Head Football Coach
[email protected]

My name is Asa Sanderson. I’m from Winchester, Hampshire and I started playing football aged four. At youth level, I played for Bournemouth Football Club, helping the team to win the Dorset Youth League Championship and Dorset Cup. Whilst at University I captained the football team where I began coaching. During this time, I also coached four-to-14 year olds at Stoke City and Southampton Football Club. After completing my degree, I moved on to manage sports academies at Winchester College and Richmond College. I have always enjoyed coaching sports alongside my career in education management and consultancy where I fulfilled quality improvement and teacher training roles. My career highlights have been to work with the Under 18s and Under 16s teams at Tottenham Hotspur Football, delivering coach education workshops for Arsenal Football Club internationally and to have coached current England captain Harry Kane. I feel extremely fortunate that HeadStart International School has provided me with the opportunity to work in a position I thoroughly enjoy from the moment each school day begins. Managing the boys and girls Football Academy allows me to live an active lifestyle and work with an excellent group of people whilst fulfilling a purpose I am truly passionate about; Supporting, developing and improving young people to provide them with the skills they need to succeed on their journey throughout life.

Football Academy

The HeadStart Football Academy is one of the largest in Phuket. The academy has eight coaches qualified up to Uefa A License standard and two conditioning coaches. There are seven teams and a total of 80 players that represent the school in both national and international tournaments.

All the coaches in the academy work diligently to develop the players in four areas; physical, psychological, technical and tactical.

HeadStart Football Academy players uphold our core values in everything we do;

  • To be technically comfortable with the ball under pressure
  • To be physically competitive in every session
  • To be tactically flexible and adaptable depending on the needs of the team
  • To be positive in everything we do, especially when faced with challenging situations.

Our overarching aim is to provide all children we coach with more touches of the football in every session than any other academy programme.

2019 has seen the restructuring of the HeadStart Football Academy with the following changes:

  • Introduction of a girls football academy
  • Introduction of a conditioning programme for each player
  • Introduction of goalkeeper specific training sessions
  • Introduction of an Under 15s boys and girls teams
  • The introduction of our hugely popular Saturday morning programme ‘Soccer Circus’ provides the perfect foundation for our primary children. These children will go on to be the next generation of HeadStart Academy players.
  • The ‘Goalkeepers Academy’ sessions hosted once a month are open to all children in Phuket. These sessions give others the chance to experience our philosophy even if they’re not students at the school.

Training Schedule

Each training session follows the same format. An intense, technical based warm up followed by a competitive, game-related practice before finishing with a small sided, conditioned game.

  Girls Boys Focus Notes
Monday U11/U13/U15 U13/ 15 Dribbling & turning Conditioning session
Tuesday   U9/ U11 Dribbling & turning  
Wednesday U11/U13/U15 U13/15 Passing  
Thursday   U9/ U11 Passing  
Friday U11/U13/U15 U9/ U11/ U13 Shooting & games Goalkeepers session
Saturday   FIXTURES 09.00-10.30    
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